Funds Will Increase Opportunities For Residents in Biotech Process Operations
Evonik Degussa Corporation is donating $50,000 to the Washington County Technology Center in Blair to help prepare individuals for work in the biotechnology and milling industries.
Evonik’s contribution, as well as funds from other firms in the area, will be used to operate the Technology Center for five years. The Center, to be overseen by Metropolitan Community College (MCC), will train candidates for technical jobs at the BioRefinery Campus in Blair where Evonik’s facility is located.
“In today’s extremely competitive world, it is critical to have highly trained, highly qualified individuals available to work Evonik’s plant as well as the other businesses on the BioRefinery campus,” said Alan Brewer, vice president of Evonik’s Health and Nutrition Business Unit in North America. “In the past, Evonik has hired people and trained them. Now, graduates of the Technology Center program will have a leg up on qualifying for jobs offered by Evonik and other businesses.”
Graduates of the two-year program will have a sound knowledge of chemistry and the processes used by companies like Evonik, shortening the learning curve for new hires.
“A well-trained technical staff is crucial to Evonik,” said Marc Gerigk, site manager of Evonik’s feed additives plant in Blair. “Graduates of the Technology Center will be excellent candidates to operate the plants.”
Equally important, the process operations training program will allow more Blair residents and those from the surrounding community to qualify for jobs on the campus -- a big plus, since local residents are more dedicated and more likely to remain, thus reducing employee turnover.
“It’s a win-win for all,” said Gerigk.
The Technology Center is a cooperative venture among Evonik, Metropolitan Community College, Gateway Development Corp. (the Washington County arm of the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership), the city of Blair, Washington County and local industry partners, including Cargill and other area businesses.
MCC is developing the two-year curriculum and providing the staff. The first year class is expected to include 15 students. Graduates will receive an associate degree in applied technology.
Other high tech corn refining businesses at the campus that will potentially employ graduates from the program include Cargill, which owns and operates the campus, Natureworks (a Cargill subsidiary), and Novozymes, a Danish company that will open a plant in 2012 in Blair. The campus has about 200 technical employees and looks forward to adding more with the startup of Novozymes.
Evonik’s Blair site produces an important product for a world that wants to eat healthy -- a superior form of lysine, an amino acid that is used as a feed additive in growing swine and poultry -- called Biolys®. With the addition of amino acids, animal feed which precisely delivers the nutrients required by poultry and pigs can be formulated. When animal feed achieves this nutritional match, the feed is utilized more efficiently, less waste is produced, and the impact on the environment is minimized.
Contributions to the community from the Blair team and Evonik recently totaled more than $500,000. Over the past decade, the Evonik team has spent 10,000 hours volunteering in Blair and throughout Washington County.
For additional information about Evonik in North America, please visit our website: www.evonik.com/north-america.
Evonik is the creative industrial group from Germany. In our core business of specialty chemicals, we are a global leader. In addition, it has energy and residential real estate operations. Our performance is shaped by creativity, specialization, reliability and continuous self-renewal. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In fiscal 2010 more than 34,000 employees generated sales of around €13.3 billion and an operating profit (EBIDA) of about €2.4 billion.
In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.